Tonight I took a three-second ride on a hand-held bolt of lightning known as the Taser® X26. Three seconds is nothing. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi. Done. Barely enough time to read these sentences. It’s no time at all unless it is counted off while 50,000 volts of electricity are coursing through your body.

According to their web site, the Taser® X26 is the most popular electronic control devise used by law enforcement today. Its chunky, pistol-shaped plastic housing is designed to be aimed and shot like a hand gun. The standard model includes a laser site and a flashlight and a cartridge of compressed nitrogen that can spit two barrel-shaped, barbed probes up to thirty-five feet. The probes remain attached to the weapon by fish line-like filaments that aren’t strong enough to land a respectable Wisconsin Bluegill, but will have a human being flopping on the deck in… well, in three seconds.

The pain is unique. I know a little bit about pain. I misspent my youth as a clumsy tom boy and a large chunk of my adulthood in the martial arts. At differing times and places I’ve broken my right wrist, middle finger, middle finger knuckle, and thumb; my right ankle, two toes on my left foot (twice), my nose (twice, once with nun chucks), and had two screws removed from the end of my right femur without the benefit of anesthetic.

If you’ve ever been shocked by static electricity, an electric fence or a bad cord connected to a kitchen appliance that’s a place to start. Imagine shuffling through an acre of shag carpet and backing into a stop sign-sized door knob. You’re getting closer. Couple the full-body shock with full-body muscle clench and hold that pose while you count, “One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi.” Three seconds can last forever.

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Comment by Karyn J. Powers on March 13, 2008 at 2:33pm
I haven't been in the lab with the body, but I had a nice after-lunch power point of two autopsies. One body had been interred for 18 months, the other had been hanging out in a cystern behind the killers ranch style house for about the same amouth of time. The presentation was part of the St Louis "Forensics University" put on by Sisters in Crime.
Comment by L.J. Sellers on March 8, 2008 at 12:47pm
Have you attended an autopsy? I thought I had it arranged, then the city hired a new pathologist, and he nixed it. Bummer.
Comment by Karyn J. Powers on March 8, 2008 at 12:01pm
It is the property of the city police department and I am a member of a citizen police academy that is just wrapping up this week.
Comment by L.J. Sellers on March 7, 2008 at 1:52pm
Wow. I just wrote a scene today in which someone gets Tasered and wondered about the experience. Yet, I didn't go out looking for it. You are brave. Who Tasered you? Do you own the thing?
Comment by Karyn J. Powers on March 1, 2008 at 3:18pm
I wanted to understand the helplessness. My protagonist is a blackbelt with many years of experience in the ring and some pretty harrowing real life opportunities to apply her craft and yet she can not fight back once her enemy has her hooked up to this devise. Boy do I get it now. I may legally change my middle name to "Compliance."

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